The best Capital One credit cards of 2021

Jan 12, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. 

Capital One has been on an upward trend ever since it added the ability to transfer miles earned on the Spark and Venture card families to airline partners. We’ve seen Capital One launch several limited-time transfer bonuses and expand its travel partner options. Now is a great time to take a closer look at Capital One’s best cards.

For the latest credit card offers and deals, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

Best Capital One credit cards of 2021

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles and Capital One Savor cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Today we’ll take a look at some of the best Capital One credit cards, including those underrated credit cards that don’t always get the attention they deserve. Note that all of the cards on this list also have no-annual-fee versions — such as the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. These cards have fewer perks and lower earning rates. But Capital One’s top cards offer significant value and have modest annual fees, so we’ll focus on the big leagues here.

In This Post

Comparison of the best Capital One credit cards of 2021

Credit Card Best For Sign-up Bonus Annual Fee
Capital One Venture Rewards Card Travel rewards 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. $95
Spark Miles from Capital One Business travel 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening $95 (waived the first year)
Spark Cash from Capital One Flat-rate business spending $500 cash bonus after you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening $95 (waived the first year)
Savor Rewards from Capital One Dining and entertainment $300 cash bonus after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening $95
Quicksilver from Capital One Flat-rate cash back $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening $0

 

How do these five cards help you maximize your points, miles, and cash back on spend? Here’s a rundown of the major card benefits:

Best Capital One credit cards

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Rewards: 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases (plus some temporary bonus categories).

Benefits: The Capital One Venture Rewards Card first earned its place by offering a consistent 2x miles on all purchases and a simple fixed-value redemption structure. Its transfer partners and additional bonus categories put it in a league of its own. Miles transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio to the majority of Capital One’s airline partners, effectively giving the card an earning rate of 1.5x partner miles or points per dollar spent on 2x purchases.

Flexibility is one of the most valuable elements of a good points strategy, and the Venture card delivers loads of it by allowing you to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to use it as a fixed-value or transferable-points card. The card offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit (up to $100) every four years.

Further Reading: Capital One Venture Rewards Card review

Spark Miles from Capital One

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,500 in the first three months.

Rewards: Earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked and paid with the card through Capital One Travel; 2x miles on all other purchases.

Benefits: The Spark Miles from Capital One is a business credit card that gives you access to the same great airline and hotel transfer partners as the Venture family of cards. Businesses can enjoy free employee cards and no foreign transaction fees. You also get up to $100 in credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment fees every four years, along with rental collision coverage and emergency travel assistance.

Like the Venture, the Capital One Spark Miles also added new fixed-rate redemption options that you can utilize through Sept. 30.

Further Reading:  Capital One Spark Miles for Business card review

Spark Cash from Capital One

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn $500 after you spend $4,500 in the first three months.

Rewards: Earn cash back at a fixed 2% rate.

Benefits: Even if your business prefers cash back over travel rewards, you can still get great value out of your credit card usage. The Spark Cash from Capital One is similar to the Spark Miles card; the main difference is that this business credit card earns cash back instead of transferable miles. That saves you the trouble of having to identify travel purchases made in the last 90 days to redeem your miles for a statement credit. Instead, you’ll easily get cash in your pocket. Just remember you’re unable to transfer rewards to Capital One’s airline and hotel partners with this card.

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year

Further Reading: Spark Cash from Capital One card review

Savor Rewards from Capital One

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: $300 after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.

Rewards: The card earns 4% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% on everything else.

Benefits: The Savor Rewards from Capital One is a pure cash-back card that aims to compete on its earning rates, not on perks and benefits. There are credit cards out there with more valuable individual bonus categories, but if you’re looking for a no-frills, no-nonsense card with multiple solid bonus categories all in one package, the Savor is a great choice to consider. Just make sure you’re getting more than $95 worth of cash back from it year after year — otherwise, you might want to consider the no annual fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card instead. With its solid earning rates for dining and entertainment spending, the Capital One Savor Rewards card earns a spot as one of our picks for the best cash back credit cards.

Further Reading: Savor Rewards from Capital One card review

Quicksilver from Capital One

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: $200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Rewards: Earn a fixed and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Benefits: The Quicksilver from Capital One is about as simplified as you can get, so for people who don’t want to spend time learning award charts and maxing out transfer bonuses, it can be a decent option. Its rewards are not the best rate on the market, but are passable, especially for a no-annual-fee card. While the sign-up bonus isn’t massive, the spending requirement is low. That said, if you’re in the market for a no-annual-fee cash back card like this, you’d likely be better off picking the Citi® Double Cash Card instead. There’s also the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, but it comes with a $39 annual fee. 

The information for the Capital One QuicksilverOne card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Further Reading: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card review

How we chose the best Capital One Credit Cards

While these aren’t the only Capital One credit cards on the market, these are the ones we’ve identified as the most beneficial for our readers. We looked at the rewards rates offered on each card, any additional perks, ease of the redemption process and the sign-up bonuses that came with each to narrow the larger list to these group of five cards.

Of course, Capital One’s other cards each have their own benefits. For example, most of the cards on this list also have a no-annual-fee version. Those cards tend to be better for beginners or those who don’t spend enough annually to justify an annual fee.

As always, head to our Best Cards and Best Rewards Cards pages to see the best credit cards and best rewards credit cards currently available across all banks and issuers.

Main benefits of Capital One credit cards

Capital One made its Venture and Sparks Miles cards more valuable when it added the ability for cardholders to transfer miles to travel partners at a 2:1.5 – 2:1 ratio.

The flat miles and cash back earned on Capital One Venture, Miles and Quicksilver cards makes things simple for cardholders, since you don’t have to worry about remembering which spending categories offer higher rewards. If you spend regularly on dining and entertainment, the 4% cash back on the Savor card is a good deal. And, if you don’t want to pay an annual fee and prefer a fixed earning rate, the Quicksilver is a reasonable choice.

Plus, none of these cards charge foreign transaction fees.

How many Capital One cards can you have?

There is a limit of two Capital One credit cards per person. However, the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One and Capital One’s co-branded cards are not included in the limit.

What are capital One miles rewards?

Capital One miles rewards are earned on every purchase made with either the Venture or VentureOne miles rewards credit cards. Miles rewards are a form of currency unique to Capital One that can be redeemed for travel with many airlines or even hotels stays, car rentals, cruises and more.

TPG currently values Capital One miles rewards at 1.4 cents per mile. This is a good valuation as the range of values given to the various points and miles programs starts as low as 0.4 cents to as many as 2.5 cents per miles.

These miles can then be transferred to travel loyalty programs which you can then use to redeem for those coveted business and first class flights.The airline and hotel loyalty programs which are transfer partners for Capital One are: Aeromexico Club Premier, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MillMiglia, ALL Accor Live Limitless, Avianca LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, EVA Infinity MileageLands, Finnair Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Singapore KrisFlyer and Wyndham Rewards.

With such an extensive list of partners, the chances are you’ll be able to get to where you need to be and even reserve somewhere to stay thanks to your Capital One miles rewards. It’s worth noting that the time for your miles to transfer varies depending on each of the partners.

How to redeem Capital One rewards

Redemptions on all the cards is pretty simple. You can redeem your Savor, Spark Cash or Quicksilver cash back as a check, set up automatic redemptions at a set time or at specific cash thresholds or redeem it for statement credits or gift cards.

With the Venture or Spark Miles, you can use the receive a statement credit for the cost of travel booked with either card. You can also go to capitalone.com or call the Capital One Rewards Center to book a flight, car rental or hotel and use your miles to pay for them. Or, you can transfer your miles to airline or hotel partners in increments of 1,000 Capital One miles and then use the partner program to book a hotel stay or flight.

Bottom line

While premium credit cards are all the rage these days, $400 -$500+ annual fees aren’t right for everyone. Capital One has taken a different approach. None of these cards offer a lengthy, exhausting list of perks that you may or may not remember to use. None of them cost more than $100 a year to carry and some are annual-fee-free for the first year.

Capital One has focused on providing a good value proposition in terms of earning and redeeming, instead of complicating things with flashy and expensive perks. Whether you’re an individual or a business, and whether you are looking for miles or cash back, Capital One has a card that can help you achieve your travel goals.

Related rewards card guides

Additional reporting by Daniel Ross

Featured photo by The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.